University of the Arctic Thematic Network on Arctic Law

The Thematic Network on Arctic Law under the auspices of the University of the Arctic (UArctic) has been established in order to facilitate contact between Arctic legal experts throughout the academic world, exchange experiences, contribute to the development of legal education focusing on Arctic issues, and enhance research cooperation via multi-disciplinary research projects, seminars or joint funding applications.

What we do?

 Our activities are dedicated to such themes as indigenous peoples’ rights, minerals and hydrocarbon legislation, law of the sea (including continental shelf submissions, maritime traffic, search and rescue), environmental law and climate change as well as broadly conceptualized Arctic governance and Arctic cooperation.

Who we are?

 The network brings together over sixty legal and policy experts focused on the circumpolar North from major academic centres and institutes. Partners come from both UArctic and non-UArctic institutions and, owing to affiliates from governmental and industry sectors, the network is able to involve and inform policy-makers. The Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law at the Arctic Centre (University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland) is responsible for the management of the Network.

Why do we need to Network?

 The need to facilitate effective contacts between Arctic legal scholars is especially visible now, as the region is undergoing a major transformation. The double pressure from economic globalization and climate change cause diverse challenges to the existing legal frameworks in the region. Opening of the Arctic seas, new actors interested in the region, new technologies, development of indigenous rights, etc., test the resilience of international, regional, national and local legal systems and create possibilities for new developments.

How to do it?

The Thematic Network is divided into independent sub-groups dealing with specific areas of concern:

  • Indigenous Peoples’ Law (Leader: Professor Øyvind Ravna, University of Tromsø)
  • Oil and Gas Legislation (Leader: Associate Professor Betsy Baker, Vermont School of Law)
  • Arctic Governance (Leader: Natalia Loukacheva, University of Toronto)

Other sub-groups may be established in the future. Meetings of the network take place during various Arctic conferences and academic events and, in particular, at annual Polar Law Symposiums. Download TN Arctic Law brochure

Interested? Contact us:

Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law
Arctic Centre, University of Lapland
P.O. Box 122, 96101 Rovaniemi, Finland

Professor Timo Koivurova (leader)
+358 40-55-19-522
Researcher Leena Heinämäki
+358 40-723-34-57

Sub-group leaders:
Øyvind Ravna (UiT):
Betsy Baker (VLS)
Natalia Loukacheva (UT, HA):

Visit our website at


Picture: Ships at roadstead off Longyearbyen harbour, Svalbard. Svalbard Archipelago, governed by 1920 Svalbard Treaty, remains one of the most interesting examples of sovereignty resolution. Status of waters and continental shelf around the archipelago is still subject to debate among parties to Svalbard Treaty.

Arctic Law TN Newsletter no 1, February 2013

Media enquiries:

Prof. Timo Koivurova
+358 40 551 9522

See more on the University of the Arctic Thematic Networks
at the University of the Arctic website